ERIC Number: ED341621
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1991-Sep
Fifth Graders' Ideas about History Expressed before and after Their Introduction to the Subject. Elementary Subjects Center Series No. 50.
Brophy, Jere; And Others
Prior to their first curriculum unit (on history and the work of historians) in an American history course, three classes of fifth graders stated what they knew (or thought was true) about history and what they wanted to learn about it. After the unit, they reported what they had learned. In addition, a stratified sample of 10 students was interviewed concerning the details of their thinking about several key subtopics. The data indicated that most of the students entered fifth grade knowing that history has to do with the past, although many of them harbored the misconceptions that history was limited to the exploits of famous or important people or to events that occurred long ago. The students did not know much about how historians work, tending to confuse them with archeologists. They also did not appreciate the degree to which history is an interpretive discipline. Most were at a loss when asked why they study history or how history might help them in their lives outside school. Following the unit, the students' knowledge of and thinking about history had become notably more sophisticated. Even so, certain misconceptions still persisted in some of the students and all of them still had difficulty understanding how they might use historical knowledge in their lives outside of school. (Author)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Center for the Learning and Teaching of Elementary Subjects, East Lansing, MI.